April 27 (Reuters) – Europe’s biggest hotel group Accor (ACCP.PA) said on Thursday it expects double digit growth in a key revenue measure in 2023, citing a good start to the year and the end of China’s zero-COVID policy.
The hotel industry has benefited from higher prices and a rebound in travel demand in the wake of the pandemic, with consumers rushing to travel even as rising interest rates stoke fears of a recession and inflation continues to erode household purchasing power.
“Consumers’ desire to travel has never been stronger,” deputy CEO Jean-Jacques Morin said on call with journalists.
The group, which operates brands including Mercure and Ibis and opened 36 hotels in the quarter, expects revenue per available room (RevPAR) to grow between 10% and 20% this year, Morin said, up from a previous target of 5%-9%.
China saw a clear acceleration in the quarter, especially after the Lunar New Year holidays, with significant potential for the rest of the year, Morin said. He noted that tourists from the country play a crucial role beyond Asia, in regions such as the United States and Europe, and have above-average spending habits when travelling.
Morin also highlighted the contribution of religious pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia.
In the Middle East Asia-Pacific region, Accor’s second largest market, RevPAR, a key industry measure of hotel performance, was up 68.5% on a like-for-like basis in the first quarter compared with a year ago, and up 56.8% worldwide.
Compared to the same period of 2019, before the pandemic grounded international flights, RevPAR rose 19% worldwide.
Barclays analysts said the earnings should be enough to send Accor’s shares higher “with both a good first-quarter beat and a significant raise to full-year RevPAR guidance”.
Reporting by Diana Mandiá and Victor Goury-Laffont in Gdansk; Editing by Kirsten Donovan
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